Del Stephens travels the west coast ruining marriages and bank accounts one tuna seminar after another.
The deep – sea version of fishing remedies — peddled by a man called Tuna Dog — has anglers ditching their salmon gear and conventional boats for stout rods, heavy lines and big boats that can run 50 miles offshore to partake in the Northwest’s fastest growing salty adventure.
Teaching people a whole new line of bad habits – all it takes is one albacore feeding frenzy – with screaming reels and a bloody boat deck – to turn any anglers curiosity into an addiction and when they get hooked — it’s welcome to the Dark Side.
The path for his addiction started when he was young and realized there were monster lake trout at the bottom of Odell Lake in Oregon’s Cascade mountains but that addiction has since manifested and grown from journeys all over the world.
Fueling that addiction by catching Marlin and Dorado in Mexico, chased Sailfish, Tarpon and monster Roosterfish in Costa Rica, landed giant sea run Brown Trout in Argentina, boated big Wahoo in the Bahamas, pulled large Peacock Bass out of the brush in Venezuela and has landed giant Blue Fin Tuna up to 600lbs off the Outer Banks.
On tournament day he puts his game face on and pulls out all the tricks leading his team to the podium a record thirteen times during a ten-year stretch of the Oregon Tuna Classic Tournament Series. He’s danced with the devil and competed with the best of the best in the world at the Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica.
He holds a Coast Guard 100 ton masters license and was a charter captain for over 25 years but now primarily focuses on fishing offshore tournaments, pleasure fishing and giving seminars. He’s a featured public speaker at many events giving over 35 seminars each year during the offseason.
Well known as a professional fisherman and highly regarded as a leader in the offshore fishing circles on the west coast. He is sponsored and on the Pro Team for Garmin and Mercury while also serving on the Pro Staff for DAIWA, Costa Sunglasses, Lamiglas, Ballyhood, TUF-Line, Terrafin, Eat Me Lures, Seaguar, Rapala, Williamson, Gamakatsu, Sirius XM Marine and Onyx. Lamiglas uses his endorsement producing a “Tuna Dog” signature series of blue water rods.
He writes articles and has been featured in numerous magazines including Sport Fishing Magazine, Saltwater Sportsman Magazine, Western Outdoors Magazine, Outdoor Life Magazine, Northwest Sportsmans Magazine and CCA’s Tide Magazine. He’s an occasional guest host on radio and TV shows. He is the author of The Dark Side, One man’s Journey to the 125 Line and Back and he’s the host of Canyon Warriors TV Show.
He was the Chairman and driving force of the Oregon Tuna Classic Tournament Series for most of the last 15 years.
In 2010 Del was honored by the Bohemian Foundation when he received the e-Chievement Award “celebrating those who are making a positive difference in their communities and beyond”. Those efforts were also acknowledged by the Governor of Oregon in 2011 when he received the Outstanding Oregon Tourism Volunteer Award for the impact the Oregon Tuna Classic tournaments have on the local coastal communities. Then in 2012 he received the OCEAN Hall of Fame Award for all his years of support and service to OCEAN.
In between these adventures, and what might seem like a lot of playing, are the duties of his day job. Del is the President and CEO of Dura Industries where he oversees the day to day activities of his northwest Portland company.